News and analysis
October 15, 2014

How the NFL Can Really Appeal to Women

October is the month when each player and coach in the NFL has the color pink proudly displayed on various components of the team uniforms. While I wholeheartedly support the league in raising awareness of breast cancer, I can’t help but feel they are missing the point.

The NFL is currently fighting a public-relations nightmare with the constant barrage of players accused, charged, and even convicted of domestic abuse. Making matters worse has been their choice of how to handle these headlines and the subsequent disciplinary actions.

It is clear to me that the NFL brand and its highly paid athletes are worth more than an abused woman.

During his news conference two weeks ago, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell spoke for 45 minutes, without actually saying anything about how he plans to tackle the issue of domestic abuse. Without a clear and decisive move in the right direction, I cannot support an organization that turns a blind eye to abuse.

As a female fan, I felt like the league’s response to the issue at hand has been dismal. It is upsetting enough that I have drastically reduced my dedication to my favorite team (I’m a diehard Seahawks fan). I have been known to spend entire Sundays glued to my TV, flipping back and forth between games. Not this year. Sadly, so far this season I have only watched the last few minutes of the Super Bowl rematch between Denver and Seattle (albeit an exciting couple of minutes). I struggle to support a sport that tolerates its employees to engaging in domestic abuse.

With this issue of domestic abuse dominating new stories about the NFL, now is the time to show just how much the NFL cares about women’s issues, including breast cancer, by implementing a zero-tolerance policy in regard to domestic abuse within the organization.

Let the pink color stand not only for awareness of breast cancer but also for the respect, love, and support of all women. NFL: Make your stand immediately: Rethink pink and implement a zero-tolerance policy toward domestic abuse.

Stephanie Trimble has worked in the charitable sector for nearly 10 years in Vancouver, B.C., Canada. For more information: @strimby.